Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Friday, February 25, 2011


Blogging is therapeutic for me. Sometimes I surprise myself when I'm blogging by sharing thoughts and feelings that I had not articulated to myself yet. That is how I felt with this most recent blogpost about Iryna. I wanted to be very honest and I was in that post. I am grateful for your encouraging comments. They have buoyed me up and helped me to continue in this journey that I am on.

Since my last post, I have noticed some very sweet moments with Iryna that I want to share.

Once a week, I take the girls to gymnastics. Iryna has been handling this goaround better than a year ago. She's made such progress in controlling herself. However, she still has hard times. This week she struggled listening to the teacher, so she was brought out to me a little over halfway through the class. Iryna was visibly upset. I could tell that she wanted to be in gymnastics, but the poor thing couldn't control her impulses. She kept saying, "I'm SORRY, mama! I'm SORRY!!!" I was trying to keep my emotions in check by not saying anything. I was thinking about how we'd paid money for her to do this...and now would she even be able to continue doing gymnastics...she would really have a hard time with just Anna going and her not going...etc, etc, etc. I looked at Iryna and the thought came to me that she was already upset enough about not being in gymnastics that it would only stress her further if I tried to discipline her at this time. A follow-on thought surprised me altogether: Iryna doesn't know how to soothe herself. She usually sucks on her fingers to calm down, but I felt impressed that this is not enough for her and that I need to help her soothe herself when she's stressed. I asked her to come over to me and I held her in my arms. She completely gave in to the snuggle and held me just as tightly as I held her. I told her that everything was going to be all right, that she was safe with me, and that I loved her deeply. Minutes later, she was still hanging on tight, so we continued the snuggle until she decided it was over. It was a special moment that I won't forget. I know that God was teaching me about Iryna and that I need to help to reduce her stress, not add to it and that I need to teach her how to soothe herself. Good stuff, people.

Most mornings with Iryna are tough. I have to redirect her back to the task at hand, over and over and over and make things easy, we only do a few things before the bus comes: take off pajamas, put on clothes, socks, shoes, take medicine, put on backpack, pray as a family, get on the bus. It's not a big deal for Anna or Keith, but with Iryna? It's hard to even be able to coax her out of bed, not to mention everything else that follows. However! I'm not sure what happened to make today different, but she was so pleasant this morning. I didn't have to give her very many verbal prompts to get dressed. No discipline. No warnings. No reminders of what will happen if she doesn't get going, etc. It was lovely. I hope it won't be the only morning like that.

I am currently looking into finding a therapist that deals with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) for Iryna. She just seems so stressed all the time. We took her to an iridologist and he said that she has a lot of stress rings in her eyes. Poor baby. I am hopeful that finding a good therapist will help her AND us.

As for our current adoption, we are still adopting. We have prayed about it and have fasted about it and God has told us - in no uncertain terms - that NOW is the time to adopt. And so we are adopting. Children come into families to help the children and to help the other members of the family. I know that our future children in Russia will be a blessing to each member of our family, and I am not concerned (surprisingly!) about this adoption affecting Iryna in a negative way. Iryna has expressed excitement about going on an airplane and she says she wants "a brother and a sister to play with". How cute is she?

I am very happy with the relationship that Iryna has with Anna and with Iryna's relationship with Keithy. Anna and Iryna play games together and do a lot of pretend play together. They love each other so much. I'm grateful that they are sisters. Keith and Iryna play together a lot, as well. They make each other laugh everyday. I love hearing their giggles - as long as nothing is being broken at the time. ;)

Iryna's favorite tv show on Netflix is KIPPER. I have not heard her laugh so uncontrollably as when she is watching KIPPER. I have watched some of KIPPER and I have no clue why she laughs so hard at that show, but she does and it's so fun to see it.

It's no secret that Iryna tests me the most of my 3 children. It's not her fault that she was dealt that FAS card in life. She didn't do that to herself, and, yet, she has to overcome her impulses and try to make it in this world. Brain damage is real and it doesn't go away. I remember praying for patience with Anna when she was a toddler. Before I could even get up off my knees, that answer came very clearly: Anna is here to teach you patience. Well, I have no doubt that Iryna is here to teach me patience, too! I guess I have the opportunity to become the most patient mama ever! hahaha! (Lucky ME!)

I want to publicly state my love for Iryna. I am one of those people who don't love another person instantly, even my own children. I was excited to be pregnant with Anna, but I didn't love her - really love her - until after she was born and I got to know her and serve her. I didn't love my twins instantly - I had to spend time with them, get to know them, serve them. And my love for Keith came faster than for Iryna. Perhaps it was because he was so needy and she was so independent. But now I love all my children the same amount. I feel so blessed to be their mama. Thanks for reading. And commenting. And just being there for me. I love you all.


Diana said...

Good job, Mama! Therapeutic parenting done well! It works - and it works miracles. I also firmly believe that therapeutic parenting is about 10% instinct, 40% knowledge, and the rest is sheer inspiration!

I'd still love to chat! Not necessarily to convince you of anything, but to share thoughts and ideas for finding a good therapist (not all of them will do!!) as well what I know about both PTSD and attachment.

Joseph and Kamber said...

You are doing great!! I see the smiles on their faces and they know they are loved. Sometimes love is not enough to erase all of their pre-home life trauma. Stay as patient as possible and reach out to others when you need to vent. Those of us out here that are adoptive parents will NEVER judge. We KNOW it is the tough. Hopefully the toughest thing we'll ever experience in our lives. I always have to remind myself that Heavenly Father chose for us to adopt and that it was his plan that brought our children to us. So he MUST have a plan to help me through it.

Saquel25 said...

I'm a firm believer in the benefits of Kipper. At one time or another all of my children have really enjoyed Kipper. Now, it's Oliver's turn. And as a Mum I love him because he is so calming. He hardly ever gets over excited, he doesn't raise his voice, and that voice is so soothing. I would love my children to play together just like Kipper and Tiger. Good job in all you're doing! Parenting is just such a great big adventure.

Sarah C said...

That was a very special post. You truly love all your children and you are a great mom. I am glad you have had those moments that help you reflect on what is most important and move forward with your inspiration. I am also happy to hear today went well with Iryna. You have a wonderful family.

McElwain Pirates said...

I don't instantly love people either! Thanks for sharing it's nice to see that I'm not alone there.

As always keep us updated on the current adoption!

Carina said...

Jill, you are an amazing mama and I am so impressed by your strength and capacity to love. Even if it doesn't come right away, once it does, it's very obvious and your children benefit so much from it. :)

Queen Mother said...

I've told you before and I'll tell you again: You are an example and an inspiration to me. I would never and can never doubt your parenting abilities; because I think you're amazing.

It's not the same; as Matthew does not struggle with the obstacles that Iryna does..but I did want to tell you that there were times when Matthew was a toddler that I did not like him. I loved him dearly; he was my son - and I struggled for so long to have him, as you know. But he tried my patience and made life difficult to the point where I would have to repeat over and over again in my head "I love you, I love you, you are my son, I love you" all the while gritting my teeth and trying my hardest not to absolutely lose it with him. He was SUCH a difficult toddler. He's 6 years old now and still my hardest child, though not nearly as difficult as he used to be. I just didn't know how to deal with it; as Andrew was and still is an easy, easy kid. Anyway, I know it is not the same; but I did want to tell you that I think if every mother were truly honest with herself she would admit that she has had plenty of "moments" with her child/ren that have been a struggle.

You hang in there, and continue to be yourself; and over time things will fall into place. I just know it.

Love you!

nicole said...

Thanks for sharing your struggles and successes. We can ALL relate to feeling inadequate and imperfect as a parent. It's plain hard for all of us- and your situation is more of a challenge than most of us could even fathom. You are doing so well, and I admire you so much Jill. Love you!